Friday, August 20, 2004

Religion, Politics and the Great Unwashed...

Probably the biggest difficulty a physicist has in explaining his science to a layman is in dumbing down the content to make it understood. You can't really. It's possible to give someone an overall Reader's Digest grasp of principles but once you get to interplay and application you begin to lose them immediately. They have to know the magic to perform, otherwise they are just a mystified audience. For every science there is a Carl Sagan version.
You can't live an effective life according to Cliff Notes. You certainly can't understand it that way.

This why why you have things like religion. Religion isn't really necessary to interact with God, it's merely a vehicle where another kind of physicist can do the same thing mentioned above. In this case the physicists doesn't really know any more than the person he's explaining it to but he's got a greater grasp of the mechanism; if not the force that propells it. Like any organization it's not long before business becomes the driving force. Religion is like the lined paper they give you in elementary school when you learn to write.

However, once you have mastered the skill you don't need the lined paper any more. The priest class argues against this because it makes them redundant and affects business. Most people are content to stick with the lined paper, even though it goes contrary to the point of the exercise. That's the way people are. They like the idea that there is something watching over them but they're not all that sanguine about trusting it. It could prove to be as fickle as they are. They're just hedging their bets usually. It goes without saying that this means you are confusing God with something else and therefore never understood it in the first place.

A little knowledge is dangerous. I'd say mostly because it tends to be misleading sooner or later.

Politics is the human way of seeking to mirror the heavenly order in human affairs. The first principle of politics is gain, or benefit. There is the implication that some government is always better than no government at all; more lined paper. What can you gain from a system? Look at Law. Those who understand Law are in a position to gain the most from it. That would be the lawyers. Perhaps the second principle of politics is support. In this case you have to convince the people you are affecting that your ideas are the best ideas for them. You can tell them the truth or you can lie to them. Both are efficient. Lies are probably more efficient because the message can be tailored to be all things to all people. Basically you tell them what they want to hear and then you do what you like.

People can be roughly divided into two classes. There are those who work through lifes difficulties to improve themselves. The result of this is character. The second group works for personal gain without recourse to increasing clarity and without the impulse toward personal growth, unless you count external assets.

The second group manufactures blind spots to protect them from recogizing anything that interferes with their view. How things really are, or the greatest good for the greatest number of people, doesn't enter in to their equation. Character flaws are also veiled by this group or translated into a virtue, i.e. "If I don't do it someone else will." or "You got to get what you can for yourself, results are what matters." These are the 'ends justify the means' people.

The first group are more auto-correct. They observe a mistake in their operations and they adjust it because it's the right thing to do. This group is always looking for ways to do the right thing. They are not afraid to admit they are wrong. They seek to be objective about themselves.

All this is highly simplistic because of the space that would be required to address these issues in any greater detail.

But the point is, neither group is ever going to be able to convince the other group about religion, politics, or much of anything. Their values, their objectives, their hearts and minds are different. They play in the same sandbox but everything looks different.

Present over the heads of both groups is The Law upon which humanly applied law is imperfectly based. Neither group, nor the mechanisms created to order their existence, has any influence with the greater Law. This Law is impersonal. It prefers no one. It just is. But the wiser mind prefers it, inclines toward it. It may sense, but not completely understand, that this is to its everlasting benefit. It is.

The Law makes sure, over time, that it's precepts are carried out to the last measure of resolution. You've no hope of appeal against it. You can only hope you apprehend it well enough to improve your relationship to it.

One of my uncles used to say to me, when I was misbehaving and ignoring directives to stop that, "those who cannot hear must feel."

It's an ongoing presumption in the minds of those who hide from themselves that they are moving unobserved. They believe they can act with impunity, deceive at their leisure, acquire without restraint and impose their will upon all and sundry.

There is an old Sufi tale that goes thus.

A Master had three disciples and he gave each of them a chicken. He told them to go kill the chicken where no one could see them. They went off and two of them returned in a short time with a dead chicken. The remaining disciple did not reappear for hours. When he finally returned he had a live chicken in his grasp. The Master asked him what happened. The disciple replied, "I could not do it, everywhere I go the chicken sees."

It's said that we are our own worst enemy. If we consider that we are the witness to everything we say and do and that The Law is always present as an observor within us, it makes a great deal of sense.




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God in Country

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